Bucephalus

Yes, “we’re having a boy”. And his name is Bucephalus. Named after Alexander The Great’s horse. Yes, I know naming a motorcycle, and calling it a boy, is lame.

It’s a bike, for crying out loud. A thing. Replaceable. I mean, Bertha is being replaced (which is a “she”, by the way). Well, not replaced. I am considering keeping her. I kinda made a promise some years back.

I’d like to tell you the story of why Bertha became Bertha, and why it became more than just a “thing”. It was in the year 2013.

We had just rode along the Danube river and parting ways with Jeff, who had to return to Poland, where Ryan and I started at the south-west end of the DN66A in Romania. It was a road that would take us from the once popular (for its natural springs) Baile Hercule to the town of Petrosani.

We had approx 160 km fuel left in our tanks (Ryan a little less), so we were happy continuing in to the wilderness. The road – after some kilometers – turns in to gravel. We knew that – it was part of the fun. Narrow gravel roads, mountains on one side, valleys on the other. We even passed a dam and lake. It was very scenic although sometimes a bit technical as the road had is fair share of both mud and big rocks. It had hair pins, up and downhill – great fun.

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But we had totally miscalculated the amount of fuel that we used. After 80 km, Ryan’s bike died completely. At that point, I had about 20 km left, according to the onboard computer. We talked about siphoning some fuel from my bike to his, but quickly turned down as both bikes running out of fuel would be even worse.

We agreed that I should carry on, leaving Ryan behind. Although Ryan was very fit, and could perfectly take care of himself, I wasn’t too happy leaving him behind. And me riding that road by myself, in the dark wasn’t something I was too happy about either. What if I would crash, not being able to get up myself? And what about Ryan – there are wolves and bears in the Romanian Carpathians. Crossing quite a few international borders, we don’t carry anything that resembles weapons. A pocket knife at most.

I rode on, in the dark. Not being able to see how deep a drop the side of the road was. The nearest gas station was 27 km – in a direct line. I had 20 km left. Lot’s of thoughts was going through my head. I could stop by at the first house I saw to get help, but this was in the middle of nowhere.

Luckily, I hit paved road after only 6-7 kilometers, at which point it started to go downhill. Which helps a lot on the calculated fuel range. When I got the the gas station – after 36 kilometers, I had 2 kilometers range left. And that after 30 kilometers downhill, so I had to be almost riding on fumes.RLJ_5140

But the gas station was a single manual pump, operated by a guy that only took Romanian Lei. On didn’t have much Lei, so I couldn’t fill the bike up, let alone get some extra for Ryan. But I did have enough to get 5 liters, which was enough to get me to a larger gas station that accepted credit card.

So I filled her up, got 6 liters extra for Ryan’s bike, and headed back. Ryan would be 45 km on slow roads, the last 7 kilometers on very slow gravel. I met with Ryan at about 23.30 – approx 3 later.

Being in the mountain, there were no cellphone coverage, so we had no way of communicating. He had been a little worried, if anything had happened to me, but besides from that, we was fine. No encounters with any wild animals, nor any people. We filled the gas into Ryan’s bike, and it started immediately. The bikes, with all the electronics, do not allow the bike to run completely dry, but simply cut off at some point, so it was no problem to get it started.

We rode into town, to the same gas station I had used (not the first one – it had closed by that time anyway), to fill up Ryan’s bike, and also to get some advice on where to sleep. At approx 2, we found a place that had open. Both being tired, we headed directly to bed.

Being on that road, tank almost empty, not knowing if you get there – at that time, I promised Bertha, that if she would take me safely in to town and back to Ryan, I would never sell her. She has kept her end of the bargain, so I should probably keep mine.

So, that’s when you start giving the bike a name. Because it has saved your ass in a situation a bit outside your comfort zone.

Bucephalus, means Ox Head

Bucephalus, the name of the horse of Alexander The Great. It literally means Ox Head, which actually spot on the the GS Adventure. Huge front. And strong. And it is kinda cool name. What name could be better for the new bike?

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Big thanks to Savci for this great suggestion!

 

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